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Today is both Nagato and Soke. NHK is also filming so it should be quite a day.
I was able to keep up with class and could replicate Nagato movement fairly well.
Nagato gave us a little insight into what he was looking for in class. He came over and said “don’t do the same technique twice”.
It seems that he doesn’t want us to replicate what he’s doing, but rather use what he shows as a jumping off point. It’s more about applying the principle of the movement than replicating the movement itself.
Make no mistake, the technique should begin in a similar fashion but where it ends up is on a case by case basis. There has to be some adaptation as each time the subtle changes require a unique resolution.
Soke Hatsumi Sensei
What a tremendous show of skill today. Seno, Nagato, and Kan put on a rare display of technique.
The class started by a huge compliment from Steve Olsen; he asked if I could be his uke for a bo demo for NHK. Although we ended up not doing it, I was honored by the gesture.
I was particularly impressed with Seno Sensei, as I have only seen his training. He demonstrated smooth movement at speed that exuded confidence and calm. It’s quite impressive how impeccably he moved while moving so fast. It was the first time I had seen Seno fully apply technique at speed.
Nagato was next and he threw his large uke all over the place. His movement was also very smooth as he executed complex throws that at times looked like we’re going to completely break his uke. Despite the force displayed, it was always in control and the uke (with very good ukemi) escaped unscathed. I realized just how dangerous Nagato could be in a real situation.
Next was Kan Sensei. Apparently he is from the old school and has recently returned. Although having a narrow frame and relaxed demeanor, he was fierce. He looked like he was trying to tear the head of his uke. In fact, Soke stopped him when he had his uke locked up and was torturing their face and head. Again, not someone to be messed with.
Soke did alot with multiple attackers at speed. He played with each uke until they were all a tangled mess on the floor. He seemed completely unphased no matter the attack.
He then did muto dori against a full speed sword strike. Although the blade was moving fast he seemed to simply stroll. You could see the surprise on the uke face as he seemed to just shift in space.
I also noticed that he seems to move a little less subtle. I assume this was so the camera could pick up his movements. It didn’t just benefit the filming though, as we were able to see certain things that would otherwise be too subtle to see.
At the break, Steve presented a new Godan test Shinai. I even got to hold it. It was very nice and felt pretty solid. I’m sure glad I don’t need to sit underneath it.
It was quite a class, maybe the best Soke class I’ve ever been to.
Tomorrow is my last full day of training. Can’t wait to see what I get to see next.